We’d all like the world to be a better place, right? So let’s do as Gandhi taught us: “Be the change you wish to see in the world.”
It doesn’t take much to turn someone’s day around. A smile, a compliment, a small gesture. If you’re looking for inspiration, here are 10 simple ways to spread kindness today.
1. Really listen
When you’re chatting with someone, do you really listen to their words and try to understand their point of view? Or is your mind way too preoccupied planning what you’re going to say next? (Ooohh, that reminds me of the time I…) Try turning down the volume on your inner dialogue and really listen to people. It’s such a gift to be heard. David Ausburger once said, “Being heard is so close to being loved that for the average person, they are almost indistinguishable”.
2. Share a book that changed your life
If something you read had a profound and positive impact on your life, why not spread the word? Encourage as many people as possible to tap into that same source of wisdom and inspiration. Lend people your own copy, if you can.
3. Share a meal
Thinking of making your specialty homemade pizza? Or maybe you’re in the mood to bake? Invite people over to share in the (delicious) fruits of your labor.
4. Show up
If your friend is holding birthday drinks, or it’s their band’s first gig, or they’re desperately keen to start a book club, show up. It might not be your shtick. But you never know how much it will mean to them to have your company and support.
5. Assume positive intent
This is another way of saying ‘give people the benefit of the doubt’. If someone cuts in front of you in traffic, or bumps into you in their rush in the supermarket aisle, assume it was an accident, or they have somewhere really important to be. Maybe they’re caring for a sick parent, or they’re late for a life-changing job interview.
6. Eat and buy local
Support your community and lighten your environmental impact. It’s also a great way to get to know more people and strengthen the good vibes in your neighbourhood.
7. Share your latest finds
Have you read an inspirational article lately? Cried with laughter at a YouTube clip? Maybe you just discovered an awesome new restaurant, yoga studio, or hidden bushwalk? Don’t keep it to yourself. Let everyone know about your find, so they have the opportunity to experience the awesomeness too.
8. Be inclusive
You may have your circle of besties and that’s perfectly okay. But maybe there’s room to open your heart further and let more people in. Do you know someone new to your city? Maybe someone at work is going through a rough patch? Reach out and invite them along to your next social gathering. It’s a small ask for you, but it could be a huge deal to them.
9. Be openly appreciative
Tell your nearest and dearest how much you love them. Let the barista know your cup of coffee really hit the spot. Thank the bus driver before you jump off the bus. Smile and have a chat with the shop assistant serving you. Thank people whenever they invite you to something, help you out, teach you a lesson or generally brighten your day.
10. Give up judging others
Wake up in the morning and think, “Today I will not judge anyone.” Everyone is fighting their own battle. Everyone has their own path to walk in life. Give people the freedom to be themselves. Focus on your own actions and attitude – they are the only things within your control. How can you be a better person? How can you make the world a better place?
Originally published on Thought Catalog